Books: Curtis, Michael. Should Israel Exist? A Sovereign Nation Under Attack by the International Community. Noble, OK: Balfour Books, April, 2012. [amazon_link id=”1933267305″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]ISBN 978-1-933267-30-2[/amazon_link].
Americans know too little about Israel to decide, or vote, intelligently on Middle East policy, or for politicians who promise to solve the Middle East’s problems. They need a primer, something to sort out fact from fiction and truth from lies, and to put the history of Israel, all 3500 years of it, into proper perspective. Michael Curtis’ new book, Should Israel Exist?, does this.
Israel under attack
Curtis wastes no time to make his point: Israel is under attack, not on the battlefield (at least, not now) but in the press, the United Nations, and often in court. Those attacks are grossly unfair. In his introduction, Curtis reminds his readers why they should care. Israel, says Curtis, is “the canary in the coal mine.” If Israel falls, the forces that brought it down will attack all Western societies next, especially the United States.
Curtis says nothing new. Radical Muslims say this every day:
First Saturday, then Sunday.
Curtis does not repeat those words verbatim, but he shows how such words might apply. In three (out of 26) chapters, Curtis lays out all the charges that the Arabs, the United Nations, and various political leftists have ever made against Israel. His third chapter is the most interesting: he discusses a new kind of warfare, called lawfare. Here is how that works: if an enemy cannot take what he wants by force, he sues to get it. Worse, he sometimes sues in courts that ought never have jurisdiction over the matter. Thus Curtis makes his most scathing counterattack on the principle of universal jurisdiction. According to that notion, any country’s courts can judge what someone did outside that country’s borders, or else an “international court” can judge what someone does anywhere in the world. Those who invented that principle, used it to judge cases of piracy. All countries claim jurisdiction over pirates that their navies capture and bring to their home ports. (See, for instance, the US Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 10.) Now, says Curtis, countries everywhere, and the UN, are abusing universal jurisdiction to bring specious charges against Israel. (And not Israel only! That is Curtis’ most dire warning: what happens to Israel and its officials can happen to those of any country, including America. And not only can, but has.)
Curtis takes a curious tone. He does not pretend to identify directly with Israel. Instead he takes the view of an outside observer, and expresses shock and outrage that any one country should come under repeated attack, while other countries get a pass. Curtis’ point on that last is twofold:
- Israel is not guilty of most of the crimes that people impute to it.
- These other countries that Curtis mentions have done the very things they accuse Israel of doing, and even more things that they never even thought to accuse Israel of doing.
And by casting himself as an observer without an interest in the Israel-Palestine conflict per se, Curtis shows, far more effectively, that no such observer can find justice in the world’s treatment of Israel.
Refuting the charges
In the next fourteen chapters, Curtis considers, and refutes, every charge that anyone makes against Israel. This goes beyond anything that Israel does today. Curtis shows that Israel has not displaced anyone, and does not occupy territory that has ever been the sovereign land of any nation except Israel. To Curtis, “Israel” means more than the Republic of Israel that David Ben-Gurion declared on 5 Iyyar AM 5708 (14 May AD 1948). Israel includes Biblical Israel, beginning at least with the United Kingdom of Saul, David, and Solomon.
that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.
About which, of course, Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously thundered,
The United States of America…does not acknowledge, will not abide by, will never acquiesce in, this infamous act!
Curtis writes in a meticulous style that a lawyer might use, and that Thomas Jefferson used to write the Declaration of Independence. In this case, he points out why racism is wrong anyway (because no one can even define what a race is), what racism really means, and why no one can accuse Israel of it with any justice. This is what Michael Curtis does throughout his book. For every charge that anyone has made, he defines what the crime really means, and then shows that Israel is not guilty of that crime.
Nor does Curtis stop there. He makes powerful counterclaims against Israel’s accusers. In so doing, he solves a riddle that surely vexes anyone in the West or in Israel itself: why do certain people hate us so? He lays the blame squarely on one man, more than any other: Haj Amin Husseini, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. He interpreted the Koran, correctly or not, to tell Muslims to make war against Israel, and then against the rest of the world. He incited his fellow Arabs to fight and kill the Jews instead of living side-by-side with them in peace. He struck a chilling deal with Adolf Hitler, and even incited the Nazis to go further than they intended. (Curtis shocks his readers by saying that the Nazis might have let some of the Jews go to “Palestine,” just to get them out of Europe. But Haj Amin Husseini instead insisted, “Kill them!”) And he set the tone that radical Muslims have taken ever since: that conquering first Israel, and then the world, is the first duty of an Arab and a Muslim.
I declare a holy war! Kill the Jews! Murder them all!
Haj Amin Husseini is not Curtis’ only target. He devotes almost as much space to excoriate the United Nations Relief Works Agency, the agency that takes care of “Palestinian refugees” in historic Judea and Samaria (“the West Bank”) and, until recently, in Gaza. The UNRWA, he says, is a permanent welfare agency. (And also a special agency just for Palestinian Arabs; the UN High Commissioner for Refugees handles all other cases in which a country kicks or chases out large groups of people.) Anyone reading this chapter will clearly see that the UNRWA seeks to make itself last forever, and rake in a large budget. (Economist have a nasty phrase for that sort of thing: “rent-seeking.”) And when they do that, they also give their clients, and those who say they care about them, an excuse never to accept Israel as a country and move on from there. Curtis points out something else: no one has ever taken care of Jewish refugees after so many Arab countries kicked them out with not much more than the clothes on their backs. Instead, Israel took many of them in, and other Western countries, willing at least to let Jews assimilate as citizens or subjects, took in the rest.
In his other chapters, Curtis patiently explains the history of Israel, beginning with the coronation of King Saul and, even further back, when Moses led a 600,000-strong nation out of ancient Egypt. He shows that Israel existed as a sovereign kingdom for over 400 years. And, from 586 BC to 1948, no sovereign country existed on that territory. The only exceptions might be the Hasmonean kingdom that fell to the forces of Pompey the Great in 63 BC, and the Crusader Latin Kingdom that held sway for 88 years until Saladin conquered it. First Babylonia, then Medo-Persia, then Greco-Macedonia (Alexander the Great), then the Seleucid Empire occupied the territory for centuries. Muslims did not occupy the land until the 7th century AD. And when the first Jews started to buy the land, they found willing buyers. (In fact, author Susan Marcus told this correspondent last year that the Arabs at first laughed behind their hands as the Jews bought land that at the time was swamp and desert. They stopped laughing when the Jews reclaimed both.)
All that to say that Israel is not a colonial power, and does not truly “occupy” Gaza or the West Bank. Nor has Israel forcibly relocated any group of Jews into those territories to build settlements. Those who build and live in those settlement, do so voluntarily, so that the Fourth Geneva Convention, that retroactively condemned the Nazis for relocating Germans into occupied countries, does not apply.
Curtis spends his next eight chapters describing Israel today and how it works. He first discusses land laws and citizenship for Israel and its neighbors. (He pays particular attention to the 1950 Law of Return, that grants automatic Israeli nationality to any Jew anywhere in the world. Citizenship is the next step from nationality; any national may ask for that.) Again he seeks to show that the founders of Israel did not steal vast tracts of land from the Arabs, as their detractors allege. Nor does Israel discriminate against any particular people, though they do prefer Jews. Next he discusses why the Jews must think of themselves as a people, and what Israel needs for its defense.
He concludes by discussing something he hints at in the beginning: the motives of Israel’s detractors. Any country has its internal critics, who are not comfortable with “exceptionalism” on behalf of their country. Israel is no exception. Beyond that, simple anti-Semitism drives most critics. (Curtis even reveals where The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion came from, and how Palestinian teachers teach the Protocols, and even deny the Holocaust, in West Bank schools. Not only does the UNRWA let this happen under their noses; they actively cooperate with this.)
The best feature of Curtis’ book is its length—or rather, shortness. At 340 6×9 pages, this book probably holds 100,000 words. That Curtis makes so many points with so relatively few words is remarkable in itself. Anyone can read it, from cover to cover, within two or three days.
The book does suffer from at least two editorial flaws. First, Curtis uses far too many long, “stringy” sentences, having many independent and dependent clauses, and absolute phrases. Sometimes he places those phrases out of order, especially in the first three chapters. Second, this reviewer found at least one instance in which Curtis used one word when he meant its opposite, and one stray “return-linefeed” that broke off a fragment of one of his compound-complex sentences. This suggests that he submitted copy that he thought was print-ready, but wasn’t, and never asked a dedicated editor to proof his copy for sentence structure and reading ease. This reviewer did not try to run a Flesch Reading Ease Test on Curtis’ copy, but would guess that it would score 30 or lower. Anyone reading that kind of copy would in theory need a bachelor’s degree to read it and understand it. (This probably should surprise no one. Curtis was once, after all, a university professor.)
That is a shame, because Curtis needs to reach more than any college or graduate-school readership. Everyone, but especially every voting citizen in America, Great Britain, France, and other Western democratic republics, should read this book. It pleads the case for Israel, and does so more effectively than most other books this reviewer has so far seen. And it warns that the attacks on Israel are part of a larger war against all of Western civilization. That is only a propaganda war today, but could break out into a shooting war any time. Israelis know this already. Americans, Britons, Frenchmen, and other citizens and subjects of Western republics (or constitutional monarchies) do not.
[amazon_carousel widget_type=”ASINList” width=”500″ height=”250″ title=”” market_place=”US” shuffle_products=”True” show_border=”False” asin=”B002EQA102, 0471679526, 044654146X, 0789209284, 0688123635, 0345461924, 0253349184, 1929354002, B00005S8KR, B000RPCJPC” /]
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
- Christianity Today
- Constitution 101
- Creation Corner
- Entertainment Today
- First Amendment
- Foundation of our Nation
- Guest Columns
- Human Interest
- Ignite the Pulpit
- Let's Talk
- Money matters
- Racial Issues
- Tea Party
- Trump elevator pitch
- World news
News4 days ago
Feds search home of former DOJ official Jeffrey Clark
Accountability23 hours ago
More companies covering travel costs for employees seeking an abortion
Accountability2 days ago
AG Garland says states can’t ban FDA-approved abortion pills
News3 days ago
At least 25 arrested in NYC as protestors take to streets after Roe ruling
Constitution3 days ago
Prayer wins – but how much?
News5 days ago
Kyle Rittenhouse unveils video game where players shoot ‘fake news’ turkeys
Legislative2 days ago
Nancy Pelosi shoves a little girl
Constitution4 days ago
Substantive due process – too much power